Search

Featured blog posts

How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam ?

Scaled Agile Framework is a roadmap that leads the organizations in implementing the Lean and Agile Practices. SAFe® includes the three foundation... Read More

The Added Value of Agile and Project Management Certifications

Over the years, I've heard so many different opinions and read so many articles about what people think of certifications. Some do not see any add... Read More

SAFe® Agilist Certification Vs PMI-ACP®: Which Certification Should You Choose?

The competition for jobs is getting tough in today’s world. Whether you are a job seeker, corporate employee, or a consultant, you should keep y... Read More

How to Pass the CBAP® Exam Using BABOK® and an Exam Simulator?

The importance of the Business Analysts has increased in the past few years. That is because; there has been a constant evolution in the field of both... Read More

Best Practices For Successful Implementation Of DevOps

What is DevOps?DevOps is nothing but the combination of process and philosophies which contains four basic component culture, collaboration, tools, an... Read More

INFOGRAPHIC: Agile And Management Learning Path For Your Next Career Move

Agile has become the most important methodology for companies searching for an incremental way to deal with project management and software developmen... Read More

INFOGRAPHIC: The Power of Planning and Estimating in Agile

Estimating and planning is an important aspect of the Agile methodology. Every plan will help in building a platform to develop a project and estimati... Read More

Are You Writing The Best User Stories In Agile?

WHAT IS A USER STORY?A user story is a part of an Agile software development approach to present the details of a requirement from a customer’s ... Read More

How To Manage Your Project In A VUCA Project Environment

Projects were never simple.But they seem to be getting less so. Not only is the external environment more challenging, but we now have to balance the ... Read More

Key Process Groups In Project Integration Management

What is Project Integration Management?As per Project Management Institute (PMIⓇ),  Project Integration Management is the first project managem... Read More

Topics

Latest Posts

How to Pass the CBAP® Exam Using BABOK® and an Exam Simulator?

The importance of the Business Analysts has increased in the past few years. That is because; there has been a constant evolution in the field of both management and Information Technology. There are numerous courses available right now that will help the IT professionals have a good grip on Business Analytics (BA). The job of a Business Analyst is, in fact, really vast.A Business Analyst is responsible for formulating policies of an organization by analyzing the massive inflow of data that is occurring every nanosecond.  Previously, such data inflow was restricted only to the company based on Information Technology. Nowadays, every sector of the industry has become data-driven. That is why, young IT professionals nowadays are opting for a career as a Business Analyst.In the words of BA Doug Goldberg, “A strong desire to help others is a solid driver for deep facilitation, effective elicitation, relationship building and mentoring." This holds true as far as Business Analysis is concerned.The importance of CBAP® examination for Senior Business AnalystThe professional development and the experience that you can drive as a Business Analyst is enormous compared to other similar sectors. Working as a BA will make you both a chief decision maker and the data expert of your company at the same time. That is why, to recognize the importance of such experience, International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has designed an essential certification for understanding the expertise and the hard work that the Business Analysts around the world are performing.The Certified Business Analysis Professional or CBAP® in short, is this most coveted certification that you must achieve if you are an individual with an excellent milestone and experience in Business Analysis.Studying the Guide framework of BABOK®Individuals who have taken the certification exam or are preparing to sit for the examination have come across the terms like BABOK® and Exam Simulator numerous times. Both of them are indispensable for the examinees that are aspiring to sit for the exam.First of all, you must know the importance of BABOK® in CBAP® examination. If you go through the question pattern of CBAP®, you will notice that the paper is based on the situational analysis of numerous case studies. These analytical perspectives of the massive case study are based on the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge or BABOK®.  BABOK® is the recognized and accepted guide that is published since 2005 by International Institute of Business Analysis. The book consists of the knowledge, practice, standards, and regulations that are maintained by the Business Analytics professionals worldwide. The most popular and competent successful implementations are discussed in BABOK®.With the constant changes in the technologies and the framework of Business, it is essential for the certified Business Analysts and the aspiring senior CBAP® to be up to date with the latest practices and skill that governs the global practices. A Business Analyst must possess the skills to demonstrate all the correct methods for the betterment of the organization. BABOK® serves as the ultimate guidebook to all the BA professionals to make them aware of the standards mentioned above.  Writing the CBAP® exam compulsorily involves the studying of all the guidebooks of BABOK® thoroughly. There is no shortcut to that! The whole examination is based on the case studies modeled on the BABOK®. Therefore, it is a sheer absurdity, if you avoid the thorough research of BABOK®. The framework actually consists of the principal tasks that the Business Analyst must perform to deliver the excellent conclusion that is expected from a skilled practitioner. For someone preparing for CBAP®, reading such large number of guidebooks could pose a challenging feat. You can start reading one chapter at a time. You need to create a routine on a daily basis. You need to devote each day to a single section.You must also chalk out the important points that are relevant to your work experience and incorporate into your notes. Those topics or the frameworks that you have not faced in your real-time work experience could be studied afterwards. Firstly, you need to cover up the similar topics that are relevant to your practical experience. Relating the theoretical framework with the practical knowledge will help you understand and easily remember all the concepts. If you learn by the audio and visual way, then there is a complete audio version of the BABOK® available for your benefit. You can also refer to the linkhttps://twitter.com/IIBA/status/847854868563976192The indispensable role of Exam Simulator in CBAP® preparationAfter taking into account the source materials, it is vital to manage the time and understand your strengths and weakness. That will help you to improve your grade in the examination and make your preparation easier.The Exam Simulator is perfect for all the candidates who are preparing for CBAP® examination and want to pass it in a single attempt. The Exam Simulator developed by VCE is an advanced test engine that will help you to become confident to sit for an exam. If you log in to the Exam Simulator, you will be given practice sets and a comprehensive test paper with the time frame similar to the actual examination.  The changing pattern of CBAP® examination requires that you need to be aware of the latest question module and identify your preferred mode of analysis. The realistic exam paper, frameworks, and Exam Simulator will give you a clear idea of your performance in the examination center. You need to register yourself on the portal https://www.avanset.com/vce-simulator.html and get started.For a new user, you need to select the package and the exam pattern that are available on the portal. Refer to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1Vheoh_LvY for the steps for registration. After entering the product code and record, you can take the CBAP® practice tests numerous times. You have the chance to evaluate and edit your test results and identify your areas of improvement. The test engine will also give you suggestions regarding the time management and limit-based learner accessibility according to your score and analytical capacity.Apart from the five years’ experience in Business Analytics, you must first study all the six guidebooks of BABOK® for CBAP®. After that, get yourself registered with VCE Exam Simulator and practice innumerable times. With a correct study plan and proper practice, CBAP® certification will inevitably become a possible thing to enrich your resume.The indispensable role of Exam Simulator in CBAP® preparationAfter taking into account the source materials, it is vital to manage the time and understand your strengths and weakness. That will help you to improve your grade in the examination and make your preparation easier.The Exam Simulator is perfect for all the candidates who are preparing for CBAP® examination and want to pass it in a single attempt. The Exam Simulator developed by VCE is an advanced test engine that will help you to become confident to sit for an exam. If you log in to the Exam Simulator, you will be given practice sets and a comprehensive test paper with the time frame similar to the actual examination.  The changing pattern of CBAP® examination requires that you need to be aware of the latest question module and identify your preferred mode of analysis. The realistic exam paper, frameworks, and Exam Simulator will give you a clear idea of your performance in the examination center. You need to register yourself on the portal https://www.avanset.com/vce-simulator.html and get started.For a new user, you need to select the package and the exam pattern that are available on the portal. Refer to youtube for the steps for registration. After entering the product code and record, you can take the CBAP® practice tests numerous times. You have the chance to evaluate and edit your test results and identify your areas of improvement. The test engine will also give you suggestions regarding the time management and limit-based learner accessibility according to your score and analytical capacity.Apart from the five years’ experience in Business Analytics, you must first study all the six guidebooks of BABOK® for CBAP®. After that, get yourself registered with VCE Exam Simulator and practice innumerable times. With a correct study plan and proper practice, CBAP® certification will inevitably become a possible thing to enrich your resume.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 5 customer reviews
How to Pass the CBAP® Exam Using BABOK® and an E...

The importance of the Business Analysts has increased in the past few ... Read More

How To Manage Your Project In A VUCA Project Environment

Projects were never simple.But they seem to be getting less so. Not only is the external environment more challenging, but we now have to balance the traditional need for rigor, which predictive methodologies give us, with the new desire for agility, and all the options for Agile Project Management.Welcome to the VUCA WorldThe acronym VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. It was originally applied to the 21st-century military theatres of operations. Now, the old-fashioned war movie simplicities of friend or foe no longer seem to apply. These are environments where the rules seem to change rapidly, along with the technology, the tactics, and the politics.Does that sound familiar?Those of us who are fortunate to work in a safe project environment of a modern office, factory or warehouse don't put our lives at risk whenever we come to work. But we do still have to deal with the impacts of constant change, shifting priorities, and flexible allegiances.So, what can we do to cope? I’d like to make a few suggestions.A Compelling CauseThe benefit of a well-defined project is that it has a single, compelling goal to drive you. Where you can separate bigger, more complex projects into a number of smaller single-goal projects.Use these goals as your anchor, to remind you what you need to be doing and why. Build stage gates into your projects, and at each one, actively review the project goals against business needs. Because, in a volatile world, your priorities may change.The GembaThe Gemba is a Japanese concept of 'the place where it happens'. In military jargon, we have the ground truth. Yet too many project managers spend their time in meetings or, worse, behind a screen.To help cut through uncertainty and ambiguity, physically go to where people are working on your project, the problem is occurring, or to your stakeholder’s office.Strategic NetworkingProject allegiances may shift, but long-term alliances make you stronger. They create political flexibility and provide emotional support.Go beyond simple stakeholder engagement and amplify your project performance by building collaborative partnerships. But remember, in a volatile and uncertain environment, you will need to constantly invest in maintaining the quality of these relationships.Powerhouse PeakProject managers typically thrive under pressure. But, under too much pressure, even we can crumble. But equally, without enough pressure, we easily get bored and inefficient.The Powerhouse Peak is the sweet-spot between boredom and overwhelm. Get there by designing your work so that it:Has clear and worthwhile outcomesStretches you to your limitAllows you to monitor progress and quality as you goThe Best Thinking Mode for the TaskThere are different thinking modes and you need to choose the right one for each situation. Before jumping in, reflect on which is the best:Sometimes you need to respond quickly and instinctively. If the situation is complex but you are familiar with it, intuition will guide you well.But, for less familiar situations, intuition will often let you down and you need the rigor of careful consideration.Always carve time out of your week for half an hour of quiet thinking time. There you can access your deep insights and creativity.And sometimes rational thinking is not enough. You need to open yourself up to people’s emotional responses and call upon your empathic understanding of the situation.Constructive ConductThere are two priorities only in project management:Delivering your projectDoing so in an ethical and accountable mannerEverything else is tactical. So, what matters when you are under pressure is not blind adherence to petty rules. It’s an iron commitment to the principles and values that make-up you, your organisation, and what you stand.Treat people well, and do what is right for them. When you behave compassionately and constructively, you’ll earn the loyalty and commitment of your team. That’s worth far more under pressure than any number of rules.Horizon ScanningBe a Meerkat. From time to time, they stop what they are doing and put their heads up, stand on tip-toes, and scan the horizon for dangers or opportunities.Do the same. Make time in your day for a systematic inventory of your project and what is around the next bend. Building an awareness of your environment will prevent you from being caught out by the volatility and uncertainties of life.I like to inventory what I call the SPECTRES of the future:Social changesPolitical pressuresEconomic forcesCommercial considerationsTechnological shiftsRegulatory regimesEnvironmental factorsSecurity prioritiesPowerhouse Project Management ModesWhen shift happens, and one of your SPECTRES looms on the horizon, you need to respond appropriately. There is no single style of good project management. Instead, you need to pick the right one for the circumstances. Which of the six Powerhouse modes will you choose to deploy:Calming and decisive leadershipExploration to resolve uncertaintyLock in certainty with a clear processSteady problem resolution with fix-it modeDirect activities to avert danger or a crisisWhen others know what to do, support themThe following diagram best explains how to harness a VUCA environment for the best outcomes.CuriosityIn a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, you can never afford to stop learning. Otherwise, before you notice, you will be unaware of the new things you need to know and understand.At least once a week, take a step back and reflect on what has happened. Make time for reading and conversations. Continuous learning and growth is the mark of a true professional, and this has one thing at its heart: Curiosity.The Powerhouse Loop: The Ultimate Success SystemOne simple cycle keeps your work on track in uncertain times: The Powerhouse Loop.Identify your opportunities, analyse them, put in place a plan, and take action. Then identify your progress or setbacks, analyse them, make a new plan, and take more actions.The Powerhouse Loop never ends: it articulates the secret to success in anything: 'intelligent persistence' - keeping going through adversity, adjusting where necessary, and stopping when it no longer makes sense.This is how to do projects. It’s at the core of traditional, planned project management, and it is at the heart of the Agile approach to projects too. This is the key to staying adaptable in a VUCA project environment.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 2 customer reviews
How To Manage Your Project In A VUCA Project Envir...

Projects were never simple.But they seem to be getting less so. Not on... Read More

Themes, Epics, And The Art Of Writing User Stories

User stories are as critical and essential in the Scrum world as the requirement documents in the traditional Waterfall world. Even if we try to avoid the controversial comparison, the need for both is unavoidable.Please note, the Scrum Guide doesn’t talk about the user stories. So, the very definition, scope or constraints of user stories are open to interpretation and the subject to be improvised.Though the widely popular and acceptable understanding of user stories is that-The user stories are the requirements told from end-user perspective to capture the description of a product feature.So, what are epics and themes?An epic is a large story which is comprised of potential smaller stories for implementation. The stories in an epic have a common objective. And thus, it often makes more sense to deliver all user stories of a single epic at one go.Theme is even a bigger brother of both epics and user stories. The focus area of a theme is generally of an organization level.A follow-up question may be –Why don’t we document all requirements just as stories?The answer is – the size. It is difficult to document organization-level requirements as stories. And it is also difficult to implement requirements that are as big as epics. Thus the requirement capture goes as-Themes -> Epics -> Stories.While the implementation adds up as-Stories -> Epics -> Themes.Writing the user stories is what we are going to focus more in this article. ‘Why’ we need user stories, I am assuming is obvious to many. The ‘how’ part is what we will talk about now.User stories can be horizontal slicing of product features or vertical.Horizontal slicing is breaking down the stories by the type (/component/technologies) of work. While vertical slicing is breaking down the stories by the business features. So, if we are making a shopping portal, the horizontal slices are stories based on backend, integration, UI, or testing functionalities. While, vertical slicing would be driven by business features like login, checkout, payment etc.Let’s take the analogy of cutting a birthday cake. Horizontally cutting will give you either the base cake or frosting or fondant decoration. While a vertical slice will be everything, but of an eatable size.Horizontal breakdown is a never a good idea with Scrum (nor while cutting a birthday cake). The reasons being:It doesn’t fit well with the definition of done. Even if you have delivered a backend story or a UI story, it is not a testable, working or deployable feature.There are interdependencies among the pieces as they can be tested only they after they are stitched together.Let us take the scenario of an online shop to sell art supplies. We will have standard business features like-LoginRegistration of usersAdding items into shopping cartPaymentLogoutSo if we write –“As a user, I should be able to check out the items I have added in my cart”, this is not granular enough to implement. This is our ‘epic’.Our user stories can be:“As a first time user, I will be asked to either register or purchase as a guest user when I check out the items I have added in my cart”“As a registered user, I will be shown the items added in my wish list so that if I want I can add them to my cart when I check out”If you feel the stories are still vague, the user stories can be made more detailed by adding “conditions of satisfaction”. And if needed, they can be split into multiple, smaller user stories.Additional considerations for writing good user stories:1) SizeSince the Scrum Guide doesn’t talk about user stories, there is no standard rule of how big (or small) a user story is meant to be. By all practical purposes we know – it has to be small enough to be delivered as a part of one sprint. With the better understanding of Scrum and team dynamics, the team gets better at estimating the size of a user story or how many stories they can accommodate in a sprint.2) PerspectiveUser stories are always written from the perspective of an end user (or customer).  So the widely used template is –As a < (specific) type of user >, I want < goal/business feature > so that < reason to validate the goal/business feature >.3) AuthorIt is the product owner’s responsibility to ensure the product backlog of Agile user stories exists. However, it is of not much importance who actually are writing those stories. In a happy scenario, all team members should be capable enough to write user stories.4) SimplicityLike any English statement; a simple, readable and easily understandable statement is the want of one and all. The best stories are the ones that leave no scope of ambiguity. Write your stories so that they are easy to understand. Keep them simple and concise. Please note – user stories should include the format- who-wants what-why.The ‘how’ shouldn’t be included. ‘How’ is the technical implementation part, better left to the teams to decide.5) ReadinessThe user stories have to be granular enough to be taken up by the team to implement. One has to keep refining the stories until they are ‘ready’ (to be implemented). Break down the epics, to the more implementable size stories. Another aspect of readiness is that team is having a shared common understanding of the user stories of the current sprint.6) AccessibilityKeep your stories visible and accessible to the team. The product backlog is an evolving artifact and explains the product vision. The team needs to be aligned with the product vision. Thus the access to product backlog and the user stories helps the team with the implementation and sprint planning. One quick way is to put up the user stories of the current sprint on a wall. Sticky notes, posters, paper cards, whatever works with the team. This fosters collaboration and creates transparency.7) Beyond StoriesSo far we talked about what are user stories, how to break them down, and the tips and tricks to write better stories. Yet in the end, I am asking you not to rely completely on user stories.The reason is simple.A great product needs more than stories. User story is a great tool to capture business features or product functionality, but they cannot help much with user journeys. An assisted visual journey using story maps, sketches, mock-ups, workflow diagrams helps the team further to understand the overall flow.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 4 customer reviews
Themes, Epics, And The Art Of Writing User Stories

User stories are as critical and essential in the Scrum world as the r... Read More